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Activist Post: Half-Prepping Equals NO Prepping: Lessons From The Icepocalypse

Activist Post: Half-Prepping Equals NO Prepping: Lessons From The Icepocalypse.

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

As a survivor of the Icepocalypse that recently gripped much of the South in crippling power outages and freezing temperatures, at least three lessons can be deduced from the experience.

  1. A very small minority of people are equipped to deal with an emergency in a competent fashion.
  2. A slightly larger number of people attempt to be prepared but fall short if the emergency persists.
  3. The vast majority of people are wholly unprepared for even a slight disturbance in their usual routine or living conditions.

While this statement may come as basic common sense to the majority of my usual readers, such observations do bear repeating. Indeed, it is important to remind ourselves of just how unprepared we may be, even though we may be more prepared than most of the rest of the population.

Many of those who are aware of the possibility of an economic collapse, general war, electrical grid failure, or simple natural disasters are aware through available literature of how human behavior will adjust to the new circumstances if a crisis takes place. Although much of what “preppers” are confronted with in terms of information often borders on the state of panic and fear, it is true that what is at first a tranquil community of friends and neighbors can very quickly turn into a violent mob and dangerous enemies fighting over finite resources.

While the recent winter storm did not turn out to be the Apocalypse, the days without power for many was a very important learning experience on just how prepared they were for an emergency as well as how their neighbors will react in the same situation.

As I already mentioned, there were a small minority of individuals who were prepared all along, because they had previously learned to stock up on essential items and tools for personal survival to begin with. These individuals are often called “preppers” by media outlets (mainstream and alternative alike) but, in reality, they are simply people who exercise a level of basic forethought in the manner that was once common behavior and not notable in any sense.

These individuals were able to weather the storm in conditions ranging from basic temporary self-reliance to minor discomfort and inconvenience. They had a source of food, water, and heat. They had a means to defend themselves if necessary. They did not require supplies after the fact. 

They were also a distinct minority. 

Others still believed they were prepared . . . until the storm hit. They had generators but no gas. They had extra food but no way to cook it. They had a well but no way to pump the water. Some had fireplaces with no logs or firewood with nowhere to burn it. The list of half-preparedness is endless but the resulting sum of that half-work is the same – they were not prepared at all.

In short, being prepared half-way is not being prepared at all.

The vast majority of people, however, did not even have the basic material needed to last through a four-hour disturbance in their normal routine. Most had not purchased extra food and water or made plans to heat themselves in some way other than electricity. Nor had they even bothered to fill up their gas tanks the day before the storm. In fact, with the exception of the usual rush to buy milk and eggs (food that will spoil as soon as the power goes out)when a storm approaches, there was not even the shockwave of panicked buyers looking to prepare. Most of the important items like canned goods were still on the shelves the day before the storm.

After the storm, however, panicked masses brought out by sudden discomfort and disruption were lining up for warm food (or any food they could find) while others lined up for a mile to purchase gas for their vehicles or generators. Any stations and restaurants with a generator were able to make a killing in one day, but the number of stores with that capability were few and far between. People congregated anywhere with signs of heat and commerce. It should also be noted that most open stores were unable to process credit and debit cards.

This was the morning after the power went out.

On the second day without power, the lines of people at the pump were noticeably more irritated, with some breaking in line by parking across the street with their gas containers and jumping in front of motorists to pump their fuel. Others simply tried to use their vehicles to push their way ahead. Thankfully, gas trucks were able to reach most areas, keeping the supply flowing, and food trucks were also able to resupply corporate fast food chains which also faced a number of line jumpers.

While power was gradually restored after the second day, the tension and panic began to subside. However, one can only wonder as to what might have taken place had the power continued to be shut off for another day or even a week. What would the city have looked like if food and gas trucks had not been able to reach the stations and restaurants freshly out of food? What if the outage continued indefinitely?

Clearly, one answer is that a great many people – particularly those who are incapable of even the slightest forethought to prepare for an oncoming storm, much less an undefined disaster which may or may not happen in the future – will be looking for food and warmth. If the crisis persists, they will not be able to find either.

With this in mind, the recent winter storm and its corresponding power outages should serve as a reminder that a little preparation is never a bad idea. However, your preparation should cover the most essential items, as well as cover a longer-than-expected length of time. Indeed, whatever preparation done now in the correct manner will be worth so much more when an actual event takes place.

Thus, a short list of basic necessities to consider in the case of a winter storm is included below. It is by no means comprehensive – but, from my experience, it will definitely keep you well ahead of even the half-prepared. Readers are encouraged to add useful tips in the comments section.

Remember, purchasing goods for the winter in the summer is usually a cheaper route than waiting until the cold has arrived.

1. Storable food and water – This does not necessarily have to be hundreds of dollars of worth freeze-dried food. It could mean something as simple as canned goods, Raemen noodles, and other foods that last a long time without requiring electricity to prepare. Bottled water or storable water jugs are always a good idea as well.

2. Guns and Ammunition – Let’s face it. If the crisis continues, you will need to defend yourself as others reap the fruits of years of television watching when they should have been preparing.

3. Generator – Although a good generator is out of the price range for many and possibly even a liability in a prolonged crisis for everyday use (it can signal who has power when everything else is silent), in a short-lived winter emergency a generator is life saver.

4. Propane and Propane Accessories – A propane cooker, for short-term outages, can provide an avenue to cook all of the food that may be in danger of going to waste if the power stays out. Similarly, having iron cookware that can be used in tandem with a traditional grill or even over an open fire might eventually become useful.

5. Heat Source – This heat source can come from a generator, but only so long as the gasoline lasts. Likewise, almost all heat sources rely on finite sources of energy – gas, oil, wood, etc. Not relying solely on one source is paramount. Wood stoves, kerosene heaters, propane, generators and more are all welcome additions for those of us who need to take heat into a consideration. Also, look into innovative means of heating your home in an emergency such as using tea light candles and other useful mechanisms.

6. Winter Wear/Extra Blankets – Eventually, if the crisis persists, the heat will run out. You need extra sets of warm clothes and several sets of extra blankets if you are to survive. Water-resistant boots can make the difference between comfort and frostbite. The same applies to gloves, jackets, and hats.

7. Flashlights – You will need light inside and outside of the house. Darkness falls quickly and one needs light by which to locate tools, find your way around, or even to travel if need be.

8. Batteries – Lots of them. And not just for flashlights. However, batteries have incredibly short lives when they are being utilized regularly, so the more the better.

9. Candles – Eventually, batteries run out. Candles can provide steady light in the dark so flashlights can be saved for travel or emergencies.

10. Lighters – Fire is extremely important in winter, and for only a few dollars you can make sure that fire is always at your fingertips. Magnesium fire starters are also a good idea.

11. Medicines – If you or a loved one rely on prescription or non-prescription medications, always do your best to save up and keep an extra supply of medication just in case. In a real crisis, medical centers may not be open and family practitioners/pharmacists will be in short supply.

12. Fuel! – If you know a winter storm is coming, fill up your gas tanks and your gas cans beforehand. After the storm, to do anything is always too late.

Recently by Brandon Turbeville:

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 275 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.  

Activist Post: Lessons to Learn From a Tech-Age Ice Storm

Activist Post: Lessons to Learn From a Tech-Age Ice Storm.

Catherine J. Frompovich
Activist Post

Everyone thinks it will never happen to them, and then it does. You and your family become unwilling captives of an event that demands your hunkering down for your safety and well-being. It can be a hurricane, snowstorm, or like I lived through, an ice storm that brought the Southeastern part of Pennsylvania into what people were calling “Snowmageddon”– one snow storm after another, often every other day, since November. If that wasn’t bad enough, we experienced a brutal weather ‘centerpiece’, the “ice apocalypse” that downed power lines for over 715,000 people early in February 2014. Most folks had no choice but to shelter in place at home.

After several days in icy frigid weather without power, light, heat, food refrigeration, phone service, cable, the Internet and all the high tech appliances – even cell phones at one time – modern life made us servants to, life stood still and we had to scramble to survive in what seemed like returning to a pre-technological world of make believe. However, it was all too real and many were totally unprepared. No school, no work, and no services – it seemed like no anything!

As a result, I got to thinking how readers would react if confronted with such out-of-control circumstances and what you should know to do when Old Man Winter turns worse than wicked. Some of my thoughts are below. As I write this, the sixth day of the ice apocalypse, more than 35,000 are still without power. I have power and can access my computer word program but no Internet service, so I will submit this when I’m able to connect to the outside world.
I hope my ideas and suggestions will encourage readers to prepare a “bug out bag,” evacuation plan, or shelter-in-place strategy, especially in order to gear up for the rest of this 2014 winter since Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s weather prognosticating groundhog, claims there will be six more winter weeks before astrological spring arrives. That critter surely must know something because he no sooner made his prediction on February 2nd than the weather socked it to us on February 5th, and it just does not want to let up. Several inches more of snow as I write this!

If I seem to be rambling along, please bear with me because in the end, I think it will be well worth your time.

First and Foremost: Stay Out of Harm’s Way

Stay indoors away from windows, sliding glass doors, and near solid walls, preferably in the center of the house to maximize using warmer areas of the house. Those who live in “Tornado Alley” know how important it is to seek proper shelter within the house. During winter storms, like the ice apocalypse, tree limbs, whole trees, power lines and poles can burst into flames or come crashing down onto anything standing in their way, including you if you are out and about walking or playing.

One of my nine lives was used up when a huge tree uprooted and crashed onto the street where I had just walked only 25 steps before.

Discourage playing in snow, as clothing will become wet, cannot be dried and you will be wet and cold. Frost bite can set in within 15 minutes, so remember that.

Cars and Personal Vehicles

  1. Battery: If your vehicle’s battery is more than 3 years old, consider replacing it so that when very cold temperatures challenge its starting capability, it will be up to the task and start your vehicle. Your vehicle eventually may become your ‘lifeline’.
  2. Vehicle Charger with USB Port: This device uses the vehicle’s cigarette lighter to recharge a cell phone and/or any electronic device that uses a USB port like a laptop computer simultaneously while charging the cell phone. Every person who has a cell phone needs this charger, I believe. BTW, make certain the car’s lighter fuses are in working order in the vehicle otherwise the charger doesn’t work.
  3. Blankets: For families, have one heavy duty blanket per family member wrapped in large plastic trash bags to keep them clean in the trunk of the car. This is a must for cold weather survival on the road, for loss of power, evacuation or sheltering in place.
  4. Gasoline/Diesel Fuel: If there are several vehicles in a family, keep at least one car/vehicle with a full tank of gas. That car should contain the blankets, vehicle charger, and newer battery. When there are power outages, gas stations may not be able to pump gas. Also, if you have to evacuate, a full tank can get you farther than having to worry how far you can go with only a quarter tank of gasoline or diesel.
  5. Windshield Wiper Fluid: Make certain you use the type that will not freeze! Keep an extra gallon of it in the trunk of the car.

Bottled Water is a must regardless of what type of disaster happens. Always have at least one case (12 liter glass bottles) of water stored within easy access regardless of whether you have municipal water or a well pump that needs electricity to operate.

If you have a well pump, check out online what’s available to draw water from the well without electric power.

Battery-operated Radio with fresh batteries is a must so that you can access important information and updates regarding power outages, safety measures, and/or warming shelters.

Dwellings – Family Homes

  1. Lanterns, battery-operated: Consider having 1 large lantern with enough extra fresh batteries for each floor of the house. If you evacuate, take lanterns with you. 
  2. Flashlight with extra batteries in each bedroom in case the problem occurs during sleeping hours. For small children consider giving each child a different-colored glow light to carry so the child can be identified easily by his/her flashlight. If you evacuate, take glow lights with you. 
  3. Room thermometer: an old fashion type rather than a digital so you can see when you have to run faucets to keep pipes from freezing. More info under Water Pipes.
  4. Appliances NOT to use: Kerosene heaters, charcoal grills, or any device (e.g., generator in the house or garage) that makes or emits fumes or carbon monoxide, including scented candles. It should be noted that burning candles ‘eat up’ oxygen in the room and can cause dizziness while under stress, such as no power and no heat.

Plumbing and Water Pipes

Without heat pipes will freeze, especially those pipes that run along the outside walls of the house, e.g., under the kitchen sink inside the wall of the house/foundation, powder room, and laundry room, or if there is no basement and the house sits on a cement slab, like many townhouses do.

Frozen pipes can cause thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of water and/or mold damage.

Beforehand, learn the proper procedures for your dwelling’s specific plumbing situation. However, some suggestions to check out would be:

1. Short term frigid weather, no heat in house and inside house temperature is 50º. Open all faucets (both hot and cold) so that a stream of water runs constantly like a ‘thread of water’. Allow the faucets to run all night until the sun warms up the daytime temperature above freezing or heat comes on. If you have to do this more than 2 consecutive nights, then perhaps you ought to consider

2. Longer term frigid weather, no heat in house. Locate the water main coming into the house from outside. Turn the valve to the Off position. Then, open all faucets to drain the pipes and leave them open until it is safe to turn on the main water valve again. Before opening that main valve, close all faucets first, then slowly open the main water valve and allow the pipes to fill for about 15 minutes before slowly opening one set of faucets at a time.

#2A. If you have to evacuate your home, it may be wise to turn off the main water valve and drain the system as in #2 above before leaving the house, since you don’t know how long it will be before you will return.

3. Toilets: Flush toilets to empty tanks and pipes until no water runs after closing off main water valve.

4. Hot water heaters probably will be safe for several days before having to be drained, if at all. You will need to have a new/clean garden hose long enough that will take the tank water from the drain outlet at the bottom of the tank to a safe distance from the house to let the water drain. However, it is best to check with your plumber beforehand and write the instructions on a 3×5 card and tape it on the wall next to the water heater so you know what to do because in an emergency, we tend to become nervous, confused or forget.

5. Clothes washing machines and Dishwashers. In most cases, those pipes cannot be drained because electric power is needed to activate water.

No Working Toilets; Where to Go

Here’s a trick that works rather nicely.

Along with the stored water, food and clothing, store several large buckets (with lids would be nice) and several bags of kitty litter.

To use the kitty litter toilet

Cover the bottom of the bucket with kitty litter and use it as a toilet. After each use, spread some kitty litter to absorb the moisture. Use toilet tissue sparingly. Cover with lid and use as needed until ¾ full. Place full bucket with lid on in a bathroom so that when the water is back on, and the toilet is running properly, you can flush the kitty litter toilet contents down the working toilet. However, you may have to add a few cupsful of water to the kitty litter toilet to make it pour more easily.

Clothing

Since we seem to be living in dramatic and traumatic times, maybe it would be best to be prepared with special “survival clothing” that is not worn any time other than when it is needed, especially for winter. Keep that special clothing in an assigned closet or dry basement area where everyone in the family knows his/her gear is located. Schedule a practice drill or two, similar to fire drills at home and in school, so children will know where to go, what to look for, and how to act. Consider it “indoor camping.”

Each member of the family should have a hooded sweater rather than sweatshirt so that layering of other clothing can be more effective in keeping body heat in. Have several long sleeve shirts, cotton long johns/long underwear, and a pair of gloves, not mittens, so chores or games can be played while keeping hands/fingers warm.

If sheltering in place, the last layered piece of clothing should be a full length heavy duty bathrobe, which will keep body heat from escaping from the shoulders down to the mid calves of the legs.

Heavy duty knee-hi socks, heavy duty sweat pants, and a cap rather than a hat—something that a child’s head can fit into to keep the ears warm. Remember, the body loses most of its heat from the head, so a snugly fitting cap is important, especially when worn under the sweater’s hood. It’s nice and snuggly warm!

Don’t plan on changing clothes to sleep. When sheltering in place, keep all clothing on until the house is warm again. Don’t take a chance on changing into pajamas or other bedclothes because: a) you can become very cold and not be able to get warm again, and 2) if you have to leave in a hurry, you will not have proper clothing on. Do not undress; staying warm and keeping body heat from escaping [wearing cap, hooded sweater, gloves, and robe] is the trick that works for being comfortable when sheltering in place without heat in frigid temperatures.

If you can find a hotel/motel that is warm and has not raised the nightly rate from $100 to $250, as happens in disasters and/or emergencies, or if you cannot get to a community warming shelter, then you just may find sheltering in place necessary, and even safe and relatively ‘comfortable’ when prepared.

Thermos Bottles 

Keep several quality thermos bottles on hand so you can take them with you in the car and have them filled with hot coffee, tea, or hot water when you find a place open that can provide them.  

Food 

There are many long-term, vacuum-packed, ready to eat foods that you may want to have on hand and stored with the bottle water. If you can’t do that, then the minimum that you should have on hand and rotate every six months by eating and replacing is:

  • Trail mix, several packages and preferably organically grown.
  • Organic dried fruits.
  • Organic walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds.
  • Box-type, high nutrient value breakfast cereal, organic preferred, no sugarcoated
  • Non-dairy milks: almond, coconut, oat, rice [keep fresh and safe in a cupboard].
  • Bottles of juice to make a very healthful and satisfying ‘cold tea’: ¼ cup of juice topped off with bottle water to make a full cup.
  • NO sodas: they will make you thirsty and crave food because of the sugar drop that comes from all the sugar in soda. NO candy or junk foods, as they can make you edgy and children hyperactive, something not needed during a weather crisis.
  • Cans of cooked beans that can be eaten cold or heated over an outdoor camping stove.
  • Cans of hearty, chunky soups.
  • Cans of chili: vegetarian and/or meat varieties.
  • Whole grain crackers or saltines.
  • Jars of applesauce or individual size applesauce containers.
  • Jar of almond butter or cashew butter or peanut butter.
  • Instant coffee, tea bags, hot chocolate mix.
  • Appropriate food for baby and/or pets that can be spooned out rather than cooked.
  • Small outdoor table-top size charcoal grill with briquettes and appropriate safely-protected fire lighter so that you can heat food when the grill is used outside the home with proper precautions, never inside any type of enclosure, e.g., house, tent, camper, and always away from wood decks and house siding.
  • Box of wooden matches kept in a tin box for safety purposes. Also, a few emergency wax candles just in case.

Refrigeration 

Kitchen Refrigerator

Once the power goes off, do not open the doors on the freezer or refrigerator, as that will break the cold seal within, and your food will not stay safe as long as possible.

Here’s something I found surprisingly interesting: I have a regular family-size top freezer, bottom refrigerator unit and when I opened the freezer after 3 days of no power, the ice cubes I had stored in a plastic bag had not even started to melt. They were solid, which indicates the integrity of the cold seal and the freezer contents. The same with the lower refrigerator: Everything was ice cold, including a bottle of carrot juice and other items in glass bottles. That’s the key to not losing food: Never open the refrigerator/freezer doors until power is restored for at least ½ hour and you are certain it stays on. Sometimes there are temporary startups during restoration procedures.

If you must take food out of the freezer/refrigerator, do it immediately after power goes off and store it safely. See information below.

‘Magical’ Refrigeration

When it’s cold outdoors, 32 degrees and below, you can have a ‘refrigerator’ for some foods by wrapping them securely and placing them between a locked storm door and the regular door. Or, if you have a secure outdoor shed, you can place food securely wrapped in the shed, which is almost the temperature of a kitchen refrigerator.

During the ice storm of 2014, I was able to find a Whole Foods open and purchased cut-up fresh fruit that I stored in my garden shed to have for breakfast the next day. It was ice cold, just like out of the refrig when I went for it 18 hours later. I also kept some cheese in the shed. Same thing—cold and safe to eat with whole grain crackers I had in the kitchen.

Computer 

Disconnect your computer from the electric wall socket so that when power comes on, it doesn’t get fried. My Verizon FIOS system got fried, so that’s why I had no Internet or phone line.

Also, make certain appliances, except the refrigerator, are turned off so that when electric power comes back, they will not be overloaded and possibly be damaged.

What Else Do You Need?

Something for kids of all ages when boredom sets in. Forget the electronic games, even battery-operated, which can conk out and cause more frustration than needed. Consider having on hand:

  • decks of cards for several types of card games with instructions if necessary
  • board games like Monopoly, Checkers, Chess, and age appropriate games
  • word puzzle books, e.g., Sudoku, crossword puzzles, find the words, etc.
  • coloring books and crayons for very young children who enjoy coloring
  • box of sharpened pencils with a hand pencil sharpener, plus ballpoint pens
  • a spiral-bound, lined notebook so everyone can tear out a sheet of paper and have something to write or draw on

A Few Creative Survival Recipes

Don’t expect gourmet quality food; be grateful for something nutritious and palatable.

Breakfast Cereal or Anytime Food

Into a bowl place breakfast flake cereal along with some chopped walnuts, non-dairy milk, and half or whole banana cut into slices. For added protein, add a tablespoon of organic chia seeds [1 tablespoon contains 3 grams of protein].

Snack ‘sundae’

Applesauce with either chopped nuts or Trail Mix spooned over. Chia seeds add more crunch, taste, and protein.

Hot chocolate

Hot water added to chocolate mix and topped off with non-dairy coconut milk. Very tasty!

Tea Time

Fruit juice tea (either hot or cold; see f. above) with crackers and almond butter or cashew butter or peanut butter

Note: If you have a wood stove fired up, you can have hot water, tea and coffee. If not, when you crank up the outdoor tabletop grill, heat water in a pot, then transfer it to the thermos bottles to keep it hot. If you have neither, and it is safe to travel, get in the car and see if you can find a place that is open and has hot water, coffee, and tea to fill your thermos bottles. I was lucky to find a Whole Foods open—it had power, but no phone; and a Wegman’s that was operating on generators.  

Thank You’s

I want to express my most sincere thanks to both those supermarkets for what they did to help people get food, and to all who helped during this disaster: road crews, plow crews, tree and landscape people, fire departments and emergency rescue crews. Without you we could not have made it through those trying days.

But the real heroes of the ice apocalypse were the unselfish power company linemen – 6100 talented pole climbers – some who came from as far away as Canada, Nova Scotia, Illinois, Arkansas and probably places I didn’t hear mentioned on the radio, to help their fellow humans suffering in a situation deemed worse than Hurricane Sandy. Personally, I can’t thank each person enough; you saved the day, as far as I’m concerned. I hope our power company, PECO, never has to reciprocate your good deed, but it probably will have to, as all power company users will become more vulnerable to the ravages of going off the grid. Thank you for a job superbly done in what may be considered record time, even if it didn’t seem like it was for some of us. God bless and keep you safe always.

If readers have any suggestions of how to make it through a winter disaster, please share your ideas in the comments section, and thank you. Please keep safe and warm.

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.

Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).

THE BROKEN LIMB & BURST PIPE FALLACIES Washington’s Blog

THE BROKEN LIMB & BURST PIPE FALLACIES Washington’s Blog.

Posted on February 11, 2014 by JimQ

“Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. While certain public policies would in the long run benefit everybody, other policies would benefit one group only at the expense of all other groups. The group that would benefit by such policies, having such a direct interest in them, will argue for them plausibly and persistently. It will hire the best buyable minds to devote their whole time to presenting its case. And it will finally either convince the general public that its case is sound, or so befuddle it that clear thinking on the subject becomes next to impossible.

In addition to these endless pleadings of self-interest, there is a second main factor that spawns new economic fallacies every day. This is the persistent tendency of man to see only the immediate effects of a given policy, or its effects only on a special group, and to neglect to inquire what the long-run effects of that policy will be not only on that special group but on all groups. It is the fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences.” – Henry Hazlitt – Economics in One Lesson

Saturday was the first day since a double shot of snow and ice storms hit the Philadelphia metro area on Monday and Wednesday I had a chance to drive around Montgomery County and witness the devastation firsthand. Over 750,000 homes lost power at the height of the ice storm on Wednesday and over 100,000 remained without power this past weekend. The mainstream media has become such a farce and propaganda machine for vested interests, it is essential to verify with your own eyes everything they report as fact. Their purpose is to entertain the consciously ignorant, exaggerate threats to keep the low IQ multitudes fearful, and function as mouthpieces for the ruling class. Deceitful corporate executives, mendacious government apparatchiks, and oblivious teleprompter reading media talking heads have been utilizing cold weather as an excuse for every poor earnings announcement, horrific employment report, and dreadful decline in retail sales. It certainly has nothing to do with decades of stagnant household income, awful monetary and fiscal policies, or the consequences of Obamacare.

We have become a delusional state dependent upon fallacies to convince ourselves our foolhardy beliefs, ludicrous economic policies, corrupt captured political system, and preposterously fraudulent financial system are actually based on sound logic and reason. Some fallacies have been perpetrated intentionally by the ruling class to manipulate, sway and deceive the populace, while others have been willfully employed by millions of techno-narcissistic iGadget addicted zombies as a substitute for thinking, reasoning and taking responsibility for the course of our nation.

You have men who constitute the unseen true ruling power of the country making a conscious and intentional effort to peddle fallacies to the masses in order to manipulate, mold, and corral them in a manner beneficial to the ruling power, financially, politically, and socially. The ruling class has been hugely successful in their capture of the public mind, creating a vast majority of the willfully ignorant who desperately grasp at fallacious concepts, beliefs, and storylines in order to avoid dealing with reality and being accountable for their actions and the actions of their leaders.

The fallacy being flogged by government drones and the legacy media about companies not hiring new employees because it has been cold and snowy during the winter is beyond absurd, except to someone who lives in the cocoon of Washington D.C. or regurgitates words processed on a teleprompter by paid minions of the ruling class. If you live in the real world, run a business, or manage employees, you understand weather has absolutely nothing to do with your decision to hire an employee. An organization takes weeks or months to hire employees. They don’t stop hiring because it snowed on Wednesday or the temperature was below normal. The contention that hiring has been weak for the last two months due to weather is outlandish and based upon flawed logic and warped reasoning. It is so illogical, only an Ivy League economist could believe it.

The other fallacy being pontificated by retail executives in denial, cheerleaders on CNBC and the rest of the propaganda press is weather is to blame for terrible retail sales over the last quarter. Again, this argument is specious in its conception. The retail executives use weather as an excuse for their failure in execution, hubris in over-expanding, and arrogance in pursuit of quarterly earnings per share and bonuses. CNBC and the rest of the Wall Street media pawns must provide lame fallacies for the corporate fascists regarding our downward economic path or the masses my wake up to reality. Protecting and expanding the wealth of the parasitic oligarch class is the one and only purpose of the corporate media.

Think about whether cold and snow in the winter will really stop purchases by individuals. If you need a new shirt for work or a pair of sneakers and it snows on Wednesday, you will wait until Saturday to make the purchase. Groceries will be consumed and replenished whether it is cold and snowy, or not. If an appliance or car breaks down, weather will be a non-factor in the new purchase decision. The proliferation of on-line retailing allows everyone to shop from the warmth of their homes. If anything, bad winter weather often spurs stocking up of groceries and the purchase of items needed to contend with winter weather (salt, shovels, coats, hats, gloves). Only an asinine spokes-model bimbo on CNBC could non-questioningly report the press release excuses of retailers. Critical thinking skills and journalistic integrity are non-essential traits among the propaganda mainstream press today.

Revealing the truth about pitiful employment growth and dreadful retail sales would destroy the fallacy of economic recovery stimulated by the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve and fiscal policies of the Federal government. The ruling class must perpetuate the myth that central bankers pumping $3.2 trillion of debt into the veins Wall Street banks and Obama dumping $6.7 trillion of debt onto the shoulders of future generations in order to cure a cancerous disease created by debt, has revived our economy and cured the disease. The unseen governing class cannot admit their traitorous actions have impoverished the working middle class, destroyed small businesses, depleted senior citizens of their savings, and warped our economic system to such an extent that recovery in now impossible. If the ignorant masses were to become sentient, the ruling class would become lamppost decorations.

After discovering water pipes at my rental property had burst due to the extreme cold weather and witnessing the widespread damage caused by the mid-week ice storm, I immediately thought how overjoyed my favorite Keynesian, Ivy League, Nobel Prize winning, New York Times scribbler, Paul (destruction is good) Krugman must be. All this destruction and devastation will be a tremendous boost to the economy according to Krugman and his ilk. This intellectually deceitful, morally bankrupt, despicable excuse for a human being spoke these words of wisdom three days after the 9/11 attacks:

“Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack – like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression – could even do some economic good. So the direct economic impact of the attacks will probably not be that bad. And there will, potentially, be two favorable effects. First, the driving force behind the economic slowdown has been a plunge in business investment. Now, all of a sudden, we need some new office buildings. As I’ve already indicated, the destruction isn’t big compared with the economy, but rebuilding will generate at least some increase in business spending.”

He had expanded his broken window beliefs to broken buildings, broken nations, and a broken people. You can’t keep a cunning Keynesian down when they need to propagate discredited fallacies in order to feed their own ego and promote foolish debt fueled spending by government, consumers and corporations as a solution to all economic ills. It makes no difference to a statist like Krugman that Frederic Bastiat had obliterated the preposterous notion that destruction and the money spent to repair the destruction was a net benefit to society, 164 years ago in his essay – That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not SeenBastiat’s logic is unassailable. Only the most highly educated Princeton economists don’t get it.

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James B., when his careless son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation – “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade – that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs – I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented.

I wonder whether the myopic focus on only immediate impacts and inability of ideologues to understand unintended consequences is premeditated or just erroneous reasoning. The broken window fallacy can now be extended to broken limbs and burst pipes across the Northeast. Huge trees have been toppled, limbs and branches are strewn on the properties of homeowners across the region, homes and businesses have been physically damaged, and power outages wrecked profits at small businesses. Society has gained no benefit whatsoever from the mass destruction wrought by these storms. Thi

s weather induced ruin exposes GDP calculations as useless and misleading regarding the true economic health of the nation. The hundreds of millions in destruction will not be factored into the GDP calculation, but the spending by homeowners and businesses to remove downed trees, fix broken roofs, replace burst pipes and clean-up debris will be factored positively in the GDP calculation. The inevitable politician response will be increased government spending to repair damage to infrastructure. This will also be additive to GDP. Krugman will get a tingle up his leg.

CNBC’s Cramer & Liesman will rave about the unexpectedly strong GDP in the first quarter as proof the economy is doing great. The fallacy that GDP growth and stock market gains are beneficial to the average American will be flogged by the propaganda press at the behest of the ruling class until the last vestiges of national wealth are confiscated by the oligarchs. In the real world, the destruction caused by the harsh winter weather will not benefit society one iota. GDP will reflect the immediate short-term seen impact of the cleanup and repair of property damage. GDP will ignore the unseen opportunity costs which were lost and the long-term consequences of expenditures made to put property back in the condition in which it started. Destruction does not create profit, except in the Keynesian world of Krugman and his Ivy League educated sycophant cronies.

There are 2.5 million households in the Philadelphia metro area. There are hundreds of thousands with trees down, pipes frozen, gutters smashed, roofs leaking and electrical infrastructure damaged. An individual homeowner with a couple of large trees down will need to pay $500 to $1,000 for a tree service to remove the debris from their property. Considering the median household income in Montgomery County, PA is $75,000, that is not an insubstantial sum.

The homeowner did not anticipate this expenditure and will react by not dining out, taking a shorter vacation, not buying that new couch, or not investing in their small business. A landlord who has to repair busted pipes will incur added expense, resulting in less profit. Less profit means less taxes paid to the state and federal government, exacerbating their budget deficits. The landlord will defer replacing that old air conditioner for at least another year. Multiply these scenarios across the entire Northeastern United States and you have the long-term negative financial implications outweighing the short-term boost to GDP.

The Keynesian fallacy of increased economic activity being beneficial is annihilated by the fact homeowners and business owners are left in the same condition as they were prior to the storms, while the money spent to achieve the same property condition was not spent on other goods and services that would have truly expanded the economy. The fallacious government engineered GDP calculation will portray destruction as an economic boost. Keynesian worshiping economists and government bureaucrats observe this tragedy as only between two parties, the consumer who is forced to repair their property and is denied the pleasure of spending their money on something more enjoyable and the tree service company who experiences a positive impact to their business. They exclude the appliance store, restaurant, or hotel that did not receive the money spent on repairing the property. It is this third unseen party who is left out of the equation. It is this third party that shows the absurdity of believing destruction leads to profit and economic advancement. The national economic output is not increased, but highly educated government drones and Wall Street captured economists will point to GDP and disseminate the fallacy.

This leads us to government in general and the fallacy that government spending, government borrowing, and government programs are beneficial to society and the economy. Legalized plunder of the populace through income taxes, real estate taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, license fees, sewer fees, tolls, and a myriad of other ass raping techniques is used to subsidize crony capitalist special interests, the military industrial complex, faux wars on poverty, drugs and terror, a failed public education system, vote buying entitlement programs, and a tax code written to benefit those who pay the biggest bribes to the corrupt politicians slithering around the halls of congress.

Government is a criminal enterprise designed to take from the weak and powerless while benefitting the connected and powerful. The government extracts the earnings of citizens and businesses at the point of a gun and redistributes those funds to special interests; funding boondoggles, wars of choice, foreign dictators, and the corporate and banking interests who control the puppet strings of Washington politicians. State organized and legal plunder designed to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else is the delusional fallacy permeating our cultural mindset today.

President Obama declared my region a disaster area, allowing for government funds to supposedly help in the cleanup efforts. Again, the fallacy of government intervention benefiting society is unquestioned by the ignorant masses. Local and State governments are required by law to balance their budgets. The never ending progression of storms and record cold temperatures has already blown the winter storm budgets of transportation departments across the region. Gaping potholes are swallowing vehicles and will need to be repaired.

Government spokespersons and politicians tell the public not to worry. The government will come to the rescue, even when the funds officially run out. They won’t react the way a family would react to a budget overage, by cutting spending in another area. We have had mild winters in the recent past when the winter road budgets were far under. Did the government set aside this surplus for winters like the one we are currently experiencing? Of course not – they spent it on some other boondoggle program or useless shovel ready bridge to nowhere. Government politicians and their lackeys do not look beyond their 2 year election cycle.

The government budget overages due to winter storms will show up in the GDP calculation as a positive impact. A snowplow pushing snow to the side of the road and a crew filing a pothole has put the roadway back into the condition it was prior to the bad weather. The roadway is exactly the same. The money spent could have been used to pay down debt, fund the government pension shortfalls which will overwhelm taxpayers in the foreseeable future, or be given back to citizens to spend as they choose. There has been no net benefit to society.

No government spending provides a net benefit to society. Every government program, law, regulation, subsidy, tax or fee gives rise to a series of effects. The immediate seen effect may be favorable in the eyes of myopic politicians and an ignorant populace, but most government intervention in our lives proves to be fatal and unsustainable in the long-term. Whatever short-term benefits might accrue is far outweighed by the long-term negative implications on future generations. All government expenditures are foisted upon the public either through increased taxation or state created surreptitious inflation.

We have a country built on a Himalayan mountain of fallacies. We are a short-term oriented people who only care about our present situation, giving no thought about long-term consequences of our policies, programs, laws or actions. Critical thinking skills, reasoning abilities, and a basic understanding of mathematical concepts appear to be beyond our grasp. We’d rather believe falsehoods than deal with the harsh lessons of reality. We choose to experience the severe penalties of burying our heads in the sand over using our God given ability to think and foresee the future consequences of our irrational choices. We suffer from the ultimately fatal disease of ignorance, as described by Bastiat.

This explains the fatally grievous condition of mankind. Ignorance surrounds its cradle: then its actions are determined by their first consequences, the only ones which, in its first stage, it can see. It is only in the long run that it learns to take account of the others. It has to learn this lesson from two very different masters – experience and foresight. Experience teaches effectually, but brutally. It makes us acquainted with all the effects of an action, by causing us to feel them; and we cannot fail to finish by knowing that fire burns, if we have burned ourselves. For this rough teacher, I should like, if possible, to substitute a more gentle one. I mean Foresight.

It’s a big country and one fallacy doesn’t fit all. Some fallacies are committed purposefully by evil men with evil intent. The Wall Street financial elite, big corporations, big media and their politician puppets fall into this category. Other fallacies are executed by people whose salary depends upon the fallacies being believed by the masses. Middle level bankers, managers, journalists, and bureaucrats fall into this category. And lastly you have the willfully ignorant masses who would rather believe fallacies than look up from their iGadgets, Facebook, and Twitter and think. The thing about fallacies is they eventually are buried under an avalanche of reality. If you listen closely you can hear the rumble of snow beginning to give way on the mountaintop. Fallacies are about to be crushed and swept away by the real world of consequences.

“Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid. It was an experience for which the captains of industry were not entirely prepared; they had forgotten the public. It was like some great convulsion of nature, which made mockery of all the powers of men, and left the beholder dazed and terrified. In Wall Street men stood as if in a valley, and saw far above them the starting of an avalanche; they stood fascinated with horror, and watched it gathering headway; saw the clouds of dust rising up, and heard the roar of it swelling, and realized it was only a matter of time before it swept them to their destruction…

But it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it.”

Upton Sinclair – The Moneychangers

 

Ice storm aftermath: warm weather brings more outages – Canada – CBC News

Ice storm aftermath: warm weather brings more outages – Canada – CBC News.

Rob Ford on ice storm efforts

Rob Ford on ice storm efforts 9:13

What 7 days without power is like

What 7 days without power is like 3:58

Tens of thousands still in the dark in Ontario

Tens of thousands still in the dark in Ontario 3:36

The little generator that could

The little generator that could2:11

About 30,000 customers in Ontario and New Brunswick remain in the dark one week after a major ice storm blanketed Central and Atlantic Canada, and warming temperatures have caused new power outages in Toronto.

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines said early Saturday that melting ice falling from trees and other structures has led to fresh damage. At about 1 a.m. ET the number of customers without power had dropped below 20,000 for the first time, but by 8 a.m. it was back up to around 23,000. The number is hovering at 18,000 as of mid-afternoon Saturday.

“Over the morning hours we’ve been moving backwards, but I’m sure our crews will attend to those and we’ll start moving in the right direction again over the next couple of hours,” he told CBC News Network.

Calling it a “story of ups and downs,” Haines pointed out that  the current tally — 18,000 — is about the same number that crews have been bringing power to each day.

The falling ice caused at least one injury when a Hamilton worker was struck in the head, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said. Officials couldn’t provide an update on the worker’s condition.

“This is Day 7 and there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said Ford in an interview with CBC News midday Saturday.  “What that day is, I can not tell you…We’re trying our best.”

CANADA/About 25,000 customers in Ontario are still without power on Saturday morning. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

In response to the backlash the mayor and other officials have received from people still without power, Ford said “it tears my heart out.”

“We have crews from Ottawa, we have crews from Windsor,” he said.  “I share their frustration…it’s all hands on deck [and] we are moving as fast as we can.”

Haines said computer simulations have shown three days, but that there are variables at work like the new outages and the arrival of more crews. The provincial utility, Hydro One, said the outages outside Toronto are largely over, which has allowed it to send crews in to help the city.

“I’m hopeful certainly by the early part of next week the vast majority of customers will be back,” Haines said.

Working around the clock

Haines, who noted that the average Toronto Hydro customer is equivalent to 2½ people, said he sympathizes with people.

“What we can do is work around the clock and we can bring extra resources in from far and wide … we will not stop until the power is on for everybody,” he said.

  • Toronto Hydro says it is receiving assistance from a number of other utilities, including Hydro Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie PUC, Enwin (Windsor) and Manitoba Hydro.
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Haines and Toronto Community Housing CEO Gene Jones (who is still dealing with outages in about 80 housing units) said they will perform a postmortem after the outages are over to see what they might do better next time.

Haines stressed the enormous scope of the damage:

  • Forty per cent of the city’s power lines, which would cross Canada twice, have been affected by the storm.
  • Thirty-thousand pieces of equipment have been installed back into the grid and about 47,000 metres of cable have gone back up into the air.
  • The City of Toronto says about 20 per cent of the city’s tree canopy has been damaged and it could take seven weeks to clean up all the fallen limbs, Haines said.

Amid the rising anger and frustration of those still in the dark, utility companies are pleading for patience, saying crews are working around the clock and nothing else can be done to speed up the process.

That’s little consolation for people who have been in the dark for a week, including Carmen Andronesu, who is one of more than 1,000 residents who live in a condo complex in Toronto’s north end.

“No matter how much you try calling here and there, it’s like you cannot find help from anywhere,” she said.

Wynne promises help for food spoilage

In a morning news conference, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the concern she’s heard most around the province is spoiled food. She said she’s looking at providing help and would offer details over the next couple of days when a plan had been confirmed.

“We’ve reached out to food suppliers to try to come up with a way of compensating people and getting some extra food — or food vouchers, something to folks, so that’s what we’re working out over the next couple of days,” she said.

Ford said Toronto won’t be looking into any sort of compensation until the power has been restored.

“I can’t give any numbers or any assurances that we can reimburse anyone,” Ford said.

11,000 without power in N.B.

About 11,000 customers in New Brunswick are also struggling through a long power outage, mostly in St. Stephen and the Saint John area.

Some people won’t have their power restored until the new year, according to a tweet from NB Power on Saturday. Gaetan Thomas, the utility’s CEO, said extra crews are being brought in from Quebec tonight, which means more than 200 crews will be working in the province to restore electricity.

Thomas said another large storm, forecast for tomorrow, will also hinder their efforts as it brings freezing rain and snow.

In the rural southern New Brunswick community of Titusville, people without power have been heading to the generator-powered general store to buy kerosene, propane, candles and water.

Owner Mark Carline said the storm and outage has caused him to reflect.

“I think we were all reminded and humbled by the fact that at any given time we could be set back to this state, where we’re scrambling [to get] the basic necessities.”

In Quebec, the outages are almost over: Hydro-Québec tweeted late Friday night that they were “almost there” with only about 400 customers left who needed power restored.

 

Ice Storm 2013: Hundreds Of Thousands Still Without Power On Monday

Ice Storm 2013: Hundreds Of Thousands Still Without Power On Monday.

Hundreds of thousands of people are still waiting for their power to be restored after a weekend ice storm wreaked havoc from southwestern Ontario to the Atlantic Coast.

Across Ontario about 350,000 people remained without power early Monday morning, and hydro officials were advising that it could take until Wednesday to get everyone reconnected.

In hardest hit Toronto where the ice splintered a huge number of trees, and turned roads and sidewalks into skating rinks, nearly 250,000 hydro customers were still in the dark by 3 a.m. At a press conference a few hours later, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said crews had brought that number down to 200,000 customers. Some in the city may be in the dark through Christmas, The Toronto Star reported.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told a Sunday afternoon news conference that the province would provide support to municipal emergency crews as they scramble to do their jobs.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford called it one of the worst storms in the city’s history, but said he was not yet ready to declare a state of emergency.

The Toronto Transit Commission warned to expect delays on all surface routes and shuttle buses were put into use between some subway stations. The Sheppard Line and Scarborough RT Line were both closed due to bad weather and buses are in service instead.

Buses were also operating betweenWoodbine Station and Kennedy Station Monday morning. Subway trains were also bypassing Yorkdale Station and North York Centre Station due to power outages.

GO Trains were operating on an adjusted schedule to cope with the bad weather.

Air travellers, however, were still being frustrated by numerous flight cancellations and delays at Pearson International Airport. The airport is advising travellers to check with their airline about flight status in advance and to give themselves lots of time.

You can reach Air Canada’s automated flight system at 1-888-422-7533.Travellers flying with WestJet can call 1-888-937-8538.

Flying with Porter? You can find out more about your flight at 1-888-619-8622.

The storm system also coated much of southern Quebec in ice, and continues to produce freezing drizzle in parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Some 50,000 customers in Quebec and about 6,000 more in New Brunswick were still without power as of late Sunday night.

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A few local photos:

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